RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment

Shecter writes: "A conservative challenged liberal Facebook friends to 'make a case, not based on emotion' against Trump's wall. Conservative buddies flooded his post with snide remarks about how this would be impossible for 'deluded libs.'"

Border wall. (photo: Getty)
Border wall. (photo: Getty)

How to Challenge a Trump Supporter About the Wall

By Vicky Alvear Shecter, Medium

10 January 19


conservative challenged liberal Facebook friends to “make a case, not based on emotion” against Trump’s wall. Conservative buddies flooded his post with snide remarks about how this would be impossible for “deluded libs.”

“Okay, I’ll play,” I responded. And in order to avoid being accused of bias, I explained that I would use only conservative sources to prove my point. My primary source was a policy paper by the Cato Institute, a conservative, rightwing think tank, along with other conservative voices (listed at the end of the piece). Here’s why I’m against the wall, I wrote:

1. Walls don’t work. Illegal immigrants have tunneled underneath and/or erected ramps up and down walls to simply drive over them. People find a way. When East Germany erected its wall, it created a military zone, staffed by booted, machine-gun carrying guards ready to shoot to kill. Yet thousands managed to make it to West Germany anyway. More to the point, do we really want to model ourselves after communist East Germany?

2. Most illegal immigrants are “overstayers.” They come to the US legally — for vacations, business, to study, etc. — and then STAY past their visas. By 2012, overstayers accounted for 58% (THE MAJORITY!) of all unauthorized immigrants. A wall is meaningless here!

3. Walls have little impact on drugs being brought in to the US. According to the DEA, almost all drugs come in through legal points of entry, hidden in secret containers and/or among legit goods in tractor-trailers. A wall will have little to no impact on the influx of drugs into our country.

4. It’s environmentally impractical. Walls have a hard time making it through extreme weather. For example, in 2011, a flood in Arizona washed away 40 feet of STEEL fencing. Torrential rains and raging waters do serious damage. Also, conservative sources generally do not address the environmental harm that walls create, but there is plenty of documentation available that show its potential for irreparable damage to both plant and animal life.

5. A wall would forces the U.S. government to take land from private citizens in eminent domain battles. Private citizens own much of the land slated for the wall. The costs of the government snatching private land — and the legal battles that would ensue — are incalculable.

6. Border patrol agents don’t like concrete or steel walls because they block surveillance capabilities. In other words, they can’t mobilize correctly to meet challenges. So in many ways, a wall makes their job more difficult.

7. Border patrol agents say, “Walls are meaningless without agents and technology to back them up.” Are we prepared to pour countless billions annually — after the wall is built — to create a nearly 2,000 mile, militarized 24-hour surveillance border operation? Because according to patrol agents, that’s the only way a wall would work. Again, are we really, going to use East Germany, a brutal communist state, as our model here?

8. Where walls have been built, there was “no discernable impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens.” In other words, they came in elsewhere, primarily where natural barriers such as water or mountainous regions precluded a wall.

9. An unintended consequence is that a wall blocks farmworkers from EXITING when their invaluable seasonal work is done. Farmers are against the wall because it makes getting cheap seasonal labor almost impossible as few American citizens want or can even do those jobs. And if seasonal worker do get in, a wall makes it harder for them to leave! A wall traps migrant farm laborers in our country.

10. Trump’s $5 billion is a laughable drop in the bucket for what would ACTUALLY be needed. For example, according to the Cato Institute: An estimate for a border wall area that only covered 700 miles was originally 1.2 billion. How much did it REALLY cost? SEVEN BILLION. And that’s only for 700 miles. Whatever we think it’s going to cost, experience shows us we have to multiply it by more than 500%.

11. According to MIT engineers, the wall would cost $31.2 billion. Homeland Security estimates it at $22 billion. Given the pattern of spending mentioned in number 10 (plus Murphy’s Law), that means we’re really talking about pouring endless billions into something that doesn’t even work. And, of course, we taxpayers will be footing the bill, not Mexico. Given all the drawbacks, is that REALLY the best use of our taxes?

As the conservatives of the Cato Institute put it, “President Trump’s wall would be a mammoth expenditure that would have little impact on illegal immigration.” (Emphasis mine) Also it would create many “direct harms:” “the spending, the taxes, the eminent domain abuse, and the decrease in immigrant’s freedoms of movement.”

And, we must add, since conservative sources do not — that the environmental harms are likely to be severe.

In other words, the facts show that walls don’t work and they create even bigger, more expensive problems.

So what happened after I posted this conservative-sourced, fact-based list of why the wall is a bad idea?


I waited for someone to respond, to engage with me. Where were the angry defenses or rebuttals? But when I searched for the post after a few days, I couldn’t find it.

My FB friend had deleted it. You could say, like Trump with the government, he shut me down rather than deal with the facts.

The ugly genius of Trump is his ability to manipulate deep, primal emotions — namely fear and hate. He, along with Fox News, have convinced his base that they are in “extreme danger” from immigrants and only a wall will make them “safe.”

Unfortunately, the need to “feel” safe is much stronger than the will to grapple with a complex, multi-faceted problem.

And so, here we are, paralyzed by shutdowns at every turn.

Conservative Sources Outlining the Uselessness of Trump’s Wall:

The Cato Institute:

Former Reagan staffer and Tea-Party liaison:

Chicago Tribune (conservative paper):

The National Review (conservative magazine):

Nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute (MPI) think tank:

Email This Page your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+9 # DongiC 2019-01-11 06:09
I think Trump and his base are in acute need of therapy. They are moved by their fear of immigrants to an unreasonable extent and they substitute emotion for logic when it comes to this irrational wall business. It is high time they get a grip on themselves and return to the real world. Abandon the fantasy Sir Donald represents and come back to the world of grown-ups.
+7 # Texas Aggie 2019-01-11 12:30
"are we really, going to use East Germany, a brutal communist state, as our model here?"

Well, yes. You haven't noticed that the RWNJ's are modeling themselves after the communist regimes? They are using deadly force to push their agenda. They are imprisoning people who disagree with them. They have been using illegal surveillance in order to monitor people who they suspect may hinder their rush to power. They have even been snuggling up to an exKGB leader and extolling his virtues.

Given the above, of course they want to emulate the Stasi.
-20 # rationalwinseverytime 2019-01-11 12:38
Dear Vicky Schecter,
39 years of donations to the DNC and almost straight ticket voting, even in years when I had to hold my nose, entitles me to be called a loyal Democrat. But I swear, you and the leaders of our party need to stop calling this "Trump's wall". I want it to and so does everybody I know, and that includes whites, Asians, Blacks and Hispanics, many of whom tell me that they are never going to vote for a Democrat again and it's getting harder and harder to argue with them. You can't underestimate the ground support for safe borders. Everybody is asking "why do we need Central Americans in our country, really, why do we?"Why shouldn't they have to go through the normal processes of waiting in line at a designated entry point and getting processed?
-4 # skylinefirepest 2019-01-12 11:23
So see what the extreme leftists do to a loyal democrat on this site? They will make all kinds of stupid comments about how the wall won't work, while forgetting on purpose that all the major democrats including their idol, the obumma, are on record as wanting a wall. They forget that a person simply cannot walk into another country without consequences. They don't give a damn how loyal you are because you are agreeing with an idea that most loyal Americans want.
+6 # hiker 2019-01-11 16:41
Another example of 'Walls Don't Work' is the French "Maginot Line". Of course most republicans are too stupid to look at history.
+2 # skylinefirepest 2019-01-12 11:19
That line was intended by loonies to keep out the German war machine the likes of which the world had never was based on WW1 tactics but the Germans had way outrun those outdated ways of running a war. The Maginot Line is definitely NOT in the same class as a wall intended to control the inflow of people who don't have the interests of this country at heart.
+9 # Wise woman 2019-01-11 16:56
Rational - even if you read the article, read it again. This time for comprehension. A smart country doesn't spend billions for something that isn't workable. Time to crawl into the 21st century.

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.